Second Kiwi makes 9th Everest summit

Queenstown mountaineer Mark Woodward has become the second New Zealander to reach the top of Mt Everest for a ninth time.

The guide with company Himalayan Experience reached the top of the world's highest mountain yesterday, along with 21 other climbers, including sherpas, in the company's expedition group.

Woodward's climb was two days after the ninth ascent of the 8848-metre mountain by Hawea-based Dean Staples, a guide with company Adventure Consultants.

Himalayan Experience, known as Himex, said expedition member Sherpa Phurba Tashi reached the summit for the 21st time, equalling the world record held by Apa Sherpa.

Himex manager Russell Brice said the weather on Everest yesterday had been "gorgeous", with little wind and clear skies.

After the first two climbers from the group reached the summit "the radio did not really stop for about one hour as everyone more or less arrived at the same time", Brice said.

Another Himex guide from New Zealand, Queenstown climber Bruce Hasler, reached the top of Everest for the second time, having also climbed it last year.

New Zealander Rochelle Rafferty also successfully climbed the mountain.

Himex said that after 18 Everest expeditions since 1994 it could record 386 ascents.